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Rare Vegetables of Malaysia

(26 November 2007)


Rare Vegetables of Malaysia Rare Vegetables of Malaysia

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Rare Vegetables

A wide range of rare vegetables species can be found in Malaysia. It has been estimated that about 120 species of rare vegetables or ulam that are being planted in the home gardens or still growing wild. Some of the rare vegetables are known as ulam based on the way it is being consumed such as pegaga, ulam raja or beluntas. Rare vegetables are categorized as ulam when the fresh or boiled shoots or young fruits are eaten with sambal or budu. Ulam is the favorite appetizer in Malay cuisine. Other rare vegetables are fried or cooked with coconut milk, or made into rojak or other dishes.

Rare vegetables such as terung asam (Solanum ferox), bitter melon (Monordica charantia), torch ginger (Etlingera elatior), petola bantal (Luffa aegyptiaca), winged bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus), turi (Sesbania grandiflora), terung pipit (Solanum torvum), kaduk (piper sarmentosum), sword bean (Canavalia gladiata), water celery (Oenanthe javanica), African eggplant (Solanum macrocarpon), belimbing buluh (Averrhoa bilimbi) and rebung buluh betung (Dendrocalamus asper) contain high nutritional value such as carbohydrates, protein, fat, minerals and vitamins. Besides that, many rare vegetables have medicinal values to reduce high blood pressure or control diabetes.

Terung Asam (Solanum ferox)

The tree is small, reaching a height of 0.5 - 1.0 meter tall. The whole plant parts are covered with fine hair. Leaves are sub-opposite in arrangement and the shape is oval with triangular lobes. The upper leaf surface is covered with thorns along the veins. The flowers sprout in racemes with short stalks. Flower petals are white and powdery. The fruits are oval in shape, 2-3 cm wide and also covered with fine hair. The fruit is initially green and turns yellow when it is ripe. its sour taste makes it suitable to be used as a sour flavoring for dishes.

Peria Katak / Bitter Melon (Momordica charantia)

The herbaceous, tendril-bearing vine grows to 5 meters tall. Leaves 4-12 cm wide, with 3-7 deep lobes are alternately arranged. The flowers are yellow in color. The fruit is green, oblong, 17-23 cm long, with a distinct warty surface. Young fruits possess white seeds and piths turning red upon ripening. Fruits taste bitter but the bitter taste can be reduced by soaking the fruits in salt water before cooking. The flesh is juicy and crunchy in texture. The young fruit is normally eaten as ulam. Bitter melons have been used in various Asian medicines for a long time as it is believed to possess anti-malarial properties and can control diabetes and cure skin diseases.

Kantan / Torch Ginger (Etlingera elatior)

The plant can reach 5 meters in height. The flower is pink in color on a long stalk, about 90 cm in length, arising from its rhizome in the ground. Torch ginger flower, also known as Kantan flower is popular because it is widely used as flavoring in many dishes especially in laksa and asam pedas. In addition to that, the flower has high antioxidant properties. The fruit and leaf also posses their unique medicinal values.

Petola Bantal (Nuffa aegyptiaca)

Petola bantal is also commonly known as smooth petola due to the surface of the fruit which is smooth and slightly waxy. The plant is a climber using its tendrils. The fruit is cylindrical is shape, light green with 9-10 dark green lines along the length of the fruit. The flowers are bright yellow and the whole plant is covered with fine hair. Young fruits are normally cooked as vegetables. However, fibers from the matured fruits are used as a sponge for cleaning cooking utensils or as a loofah.

Wing Bean (Psophocarpus tetragonolobus)

Winged bean is also known as kacang kelisa. The plant is a type of vine growing with a climbing twining stem. Leaves are trifoliate with three leaflets. Flowers are beautiful with bluish purple in color. Clusters consist of 2-10 flowers. Winged bean is easily recognized because it has a unique bean pod. The bean pod is about 15-22 cm long, four-angled with frilly edges running lengthwise. The surface is waxy and the flesh of the young pod is partially translucent. The bean pod has a high nutritional content. protein content is also high about 29-39%.

Turi (Sesbania grandiflora)

Turi or geti is a perennial plant reaching a height of 4 meters tall. Leaves are pinnately compound with leaflets in opposite arrangement. Flowers are white or red in color, drooping from the flower stalks. The boiled shoot is eaten as ulam while the young leaves can be cooked with coconut milk. Petals of young flower buds can also be eaten as ulam or cooked as vegetables. In addition to that, the bark, leaf, root and flower of the plant also possess medicinal values.

Terung Pipit (Solanum torvum)

Terung pipit is also known as terung rembang. The plant is weedy and can easily be found at grass fields, bushes or along roadsides. The plant is a shrub reaching a height of 1-2 meters tall. The leaf is large, oval in shape with triangular-lobed margin. The whole plant is covered with sharp thorns such as on the stem, leaf stalks and inflorescence axis. Flowers are white in color and arranged in a cluster. The fruits are similar to berries, round, small in size and are borne in a short bunch. The young fruits are usually eaten as ulam either fresh or boiled. It can also be fried or cooked in dishes. The fruits are believed to reduce high blood pressure.

Technical Details

Date of Issue 26 November 2007
Denomination 50 sen x 3 designs
Stamp Size 29mm x 34mm
Miniature Sheet Denomination RM1.00 x 4
Miniature Sheet Size 120mm x 70mm
Stamp Size in Miniature Sheet 29mm x 34mm
Perforation 14
Sheet Content 20 stamps
Paper SPM Watermarked, Phosphor Coated
Printing Process Lithography

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